Friday, June 29, 2012

I lamb what I lamb, it says on the funny sign

This is my weekly entry for Dude Write,
which is a place where men submit their writing, people vote, and fake prizes are distributed. Please check out some of the other writers there!


Lucille Ball, that ginger harpy.

I especially hate the one where Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel go on a road trip that leads them in an infinite loop: continually returning to a terrible diner where the demonic figure of George Skinner switches hats and desks in order to bilk them out of all their money.

Why won't you punch him out, Fred? You look just like Butterbean; can't you fight like one, too?

Make of Ethel a gift to him.

One time we went to this Lamb Festival in the middle of nowhere, and it made me think of George Skinner.

We drove quickly, fearing an overstuffed parking lot.

We went inside the Visitors Center.

A teenage girl stood behind a counter, slowy twirling a rack of hot dogs over a heat lamp.

"Four tickets, please," I said.

"Oh you can't buy tickets here, you buy them at the ticket counter." She pointed the way.

Hot Dog Girl's identical twin stood at the ticket desk.

I looked back to make sure she had not pulled a George Skinner and duck walked over here, quickly switched hats, and popped up in time to ask for my money.

Judging from the price of the tickets, we were funding Lamb Fest's entire operating budget for the week.

"Here are your two complimentary tokens for the carnival games, and your wrist bands."

 I wordlessly offered her my wrist. what she should have said.

But no, the poor girl, probably assuming I was a bit touched, carefully wrapped the little paper band around my wrist, and made sure it adhered snugly to it's other end.

Whenever scenarios arise that involve wrist bands, entry stamps, ticket stubs, or the like, I think I revert to some phase of child brain development wherein I become unable to determine my own course, and am content, even needing, the intervention of another to light the path.

Left all alone, I believe I would end up with my "Over 21" stamp on my palm, where sweat and nervous gripping would make quick work of it; or my Lamb Festival wrist band would be around my neck, and there, on the floor, turning blue, my wife beside me and screaming, "Why did you let him put on his own wrist band? Can't you see he's not well?!? Get it off, oh someone cut it off...."

She produced that wrist band from her drawer, and my brain went slack, my wrist rose on automatic.

"Can we play the carnival games, Daddy?"

"Of course...we have two free tokens after all," I say, spreading my arms wide in an odd celebratory fashion.

The carnival games consists of yet another George Skinner girl, standing by a wooden board with a hole cut in the middle.

The object of the game is to throw a ball through the hole, and the prize for doing it is a small red balloon you must inflate yourself.

A little boy stood directly in front of the hole, throwing the ball through over and over again.

I want to complain that he will, eventually, win all the remaining prizes, but I decide to bide my time and see how the scenario unfolds.

"Caleb! Let them people do it!" the girl barks.

The boy walks away.

Both my sons are unable to throw the ball through the hole.

"They can git closer," says the girl. She gives us all a once over and hides her smile.

Not a good thrower in the bunch, I wager....she thinks, letting her eyes come to rest on me.

She has the large hands and tanned skin of a farmgirl, anxious for summer to come so she can do sex to her boyfriend and eat a pork chop after.

I want a red balloon so bad, but I daren't try to throw, I daren't.

Mustn't give her the satisfaction; the delight she would receive from watching me humiliate myself; the right arm drawn backwards on an impractical angle that foreshadows a toss straight into the tops of my shoes; the left absently rising to cup my breast, uncertain of where else to go.

"Lets find us some lambs!" I say, in my best hey-kids-every-minute-is-the-peak-of-fun-and-laughing Dad voice.

We troop out of the Visitor Center and across a cold, dead stretch of road to get to the barn.

The little horse comes trotting happily up to us.

 "Aw cute.....," no one says about a horse with nasal discharge gone wild.

The barn is almost deafening loud; the hundred bleats and bellows of sheep and goats hoping someone will buy cones of feed for 2.50 and then whip that feed right into their faces.

Little children are pretty good at that.

Mine are plugging their ears in terror.

"It's too loud!"

"I'm scared!"

They throw their cones of feed down, just shy of the actual animals, and make a run for it.

As we are leaving, I notice a sign advertising "World's Scariest Hayride".

Given the Lamb Festival, I can only imagine what this hayride might consist of:

A tired farmer at the wheel, sporting the pumpkin socks he breaks out only for Halloween.

The route takes you in a loop; past an inflatable ghost on a stick, then past a man in a ski mask, holding an air horn and hiding in the bushes, then a long stretch of nothing but autumnal twilight and the boom and spit of the tractor's engine protesting the extra load.

Between passes, Ski Mask Man scurries over and re-inflates Stick Ghost in wheezy, emphysemic breaths.

On your way out, the propriater stands there, holding a lit sparkler.

"Pleasant Nightmares, children!" he cackles, in his best rendition of the Crypt Keeper.

The sparkler sizzles out, burning his finger, and he yells, "Shit!"

You spend the rest of your Halloween warning your children that 'shit' is the Devil's word for BM's.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Come back with whimper

I wiped two different bottoms today.

One was a large, hairy white moon that refused to bend even an inch, forcing me to shred a few wipes in my efforts to clean house.

The voice at the other end of this momentous and unyielding ass jabbered on about how it was all like a real roller coaster.

He kept calling me "Mark" and then seemed hurt when I did not respond.

I am sorry, person who I just met five minutes ago and am now performing a most personal duty upon, but that is not my name.

The other bottom was tiny, and it's owner, though just as vocal, was much less articulate than my previous customer.

Thankfully, this one did not stink.

My son is now a week old, and I am still amazed at how little he is, how gross a spectacle is his swollen red circumcision and his black and slowly drying nub of an umbilical cord.

Such a frail thing; and even before he was out, he managed to give us one good scare:

In the hospital room at night, the continuous whump of the monitored baby's heart lost its momentum, and fell off to a sporadic rattle. 

Nurses filled the room, urging and assisting my wife into new positions to try and rekindle a good pulse.

I jumped up to assist her, to do anything, and felt myself begin to weaken.

"I think I'm sick," I mumbled.

More nurses came in, two for me alone.

They brought me graham crackers and peanut butter, and a little cup of juice with a straw in it.

I sucked on my juice and wondered if we would watch the Wiggles after quiet time. 

My wife fought back panic, shifting from position to position, while the head nurse shouted orders and they all prepared for the worst.

Everything seemed terrifying and beyond our influence.

I spread peanut butter on the cracker and munched away.

"Daddy, what did you do when I almost died in Mommy's tummy?"

I pat his tiny head with those creepy soft spots where the fontanel has not got it's act together.

"Buddy, I ate some of the best damn peanut butter you ever had in your life."

He scrunches his face up critically.

"That doesn't sound very helpful...."

"Well, I'm wiping yer ass good now, aints I?"

 After a time he says, "Yeah, I guess so..." and lays his five pound, eleven ounce body back down so I can finish changing his diaper.

My new baby lets me off easy in the fecal department; my new student is less kind.

After I clean him up, he turns to me and says "hand".

There, across the tops of all his knuckles, is a bronzing of pooey.

I think of hating jobs, needing jobs, wasted degrees, the slow but unceasing skid into utter burnout, and I wish I could walk out of the stall and let someone else wipe this grown man's shit plastered hand.

But I can't, unless I want my family to compete with raccoons for the choice trimmings at the top of the neighbor's compost pile.

We cannot win that fight; they are crafty, their little hands so strong and dexterous, and they are oft rumored to keep good company with rabies.

They would enslave us.

The thought breaks my heart just enough to resolve to clean his hand.

We stand over the sink for awhile, letting the water run hot through our fingers.

"Mark?" he says.



I die inside.


"My roommate's name is Punk." He begins to giggle hysterically as I lead him back to class.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Product Review: The World Around Me

I realized that, after all this time of blogging, I have been very secretive about many aspects of my life; some would even say I have been cold, removed, unapproachable.

This Product Review aims to shatter the barrier between I and thou.

Every morning for breakfast, I eat peanut butter spread evenly on a low carbohydrate tortilla.

Sometimes, depending on my mood, I substitute a flat bread half or "Pita Pocket" for the tortilla.

On days when I realize I bought "smooth" or "creamy" peanut butter instead of "crunchy", I feel bad and approach the rest of the workday with an unpleasant attitude.

Rarely, but it has happened, I have made the mistake of buying the truly natural kind of peanut butter that is quite runny and needs to have the oil gushed back into the blended peanuts.

The appearance of that particular kind of peanut butter calls to my mind many memories of seeing someone's diarrhea, and consequently I am unable to eat it.

The tortilla is low carbohydrate because I am always watching my figure.

This is the school snack cupboard.

After eating my low carbohydrate tortilla or Pit Pocket, I hang out here for awhile.

Just looking.

And sometimes feeling.

This is also where I display my prized collection of Ketchup or Catsup bottles.


This picture makes me so happy, but it also makes me feel guilty for being so materialistic.

There is a famous story of a saint who had to choose between his collection of beer steins and his devotion to God.

I guess I will have plenty of Ketchup for dipping fries in Hell.

At the Hell cafeteria.

Maybe no one else will have clung so desperately to Ketchup, and I will be able to profit from it in the patchwork barter-based economy of Hell.

Like I will say stuff like those fries look terribly dry and unsatisfying without Ketchup, and the person eating the fries will sigh, and ask me what it is going to cost them this time.

If they have bootleg movies on video tape to trade, I might take that, but maybe just a couple cigarettes because I am already dead so I can smoke again.

Though I will probably have to befriend the man who chose his prize collection of little paper condiment cups over God.

I guess we could team up, as long as he follows that motto von deferis of dealing, that is, "Don't Get High On Your Own Supply".

This one is probably my favorite:

 It has a very clean line to it, and reminds me of a beautiful woman who is just standing around, like it captures the ordinarily glamorous woman in a moment of simple humanity, as if she was making poop or snoring in a study room at the library.

This one is good too:

It's mustard.

This is the school coffee pot.

Without it, there would be no Gweenbrick, but there would be a lot more toilet paper in the staff bathroom.

These are my friends Scott and Jason.

They are standing in front of their lockers on the last day of school.

Scott is the Asian one.

They hope to meet girls this summer, and maybe go to the movies.

One time, Jason got trapped in the staff candy machine, and a staff person said, "Hey, get that nasty thing you found at the thrift store out of the Skittles. Why are you taking pictures of it, anyways?"

This is the games closet.

But that is not it's most interesting feature.

This is:

This is how we test the problem solving abilities of new staff.

We say, can you get George a puzzle from the games closet?

The new staff person leaves the room, and pretty soon we here the sound of frustrated tugging on the game closet door.

Sometimes we hear, "Its stuck or something" as well.

The smart ones figure out there is a hidden latch, pictured above, but sometimes it takes them awhile.

If they never find the latch, then we ask them to help George do his puzzle as well.

But we fail to inform them that George's puzzle is missing a piece, so after they happily encourage and hand-over-hand it with George to finish the puzzle, they see that one piece is missing.

Then they start looking all over for it, like under the tables and everything.

George stares at the ceiling, happily rubbing his thighs in a vigorous, forward and back motion.

The closet is also on wheels, and one time:

I pushed it out far enough that I could stand snugly between it and the wall.

I felt like the building was hugging me and I took a nap, standing up.

It was some of the best sleep of my life.

This is the fax machine.

By itself, I know already how amazing it is to look at, but it gets better.

You have to unplug the phone and plug in the fax to get faxes.

But the phone still rings like normal when there is an incoming fax, so people are always picking up the phone, saying "Hello?" and getting the horrible screeches of a fax in their ear.

Then someone else, someone whose fax got interrupted because the phone was picked up, goes around saying, "Did you pick up the phone? Don't pick up the phone, I am waiting for a fax."

Then they have to plug the phone back in to tell the faxer to refax, but to wait a minute to refax, because the fax machine has to be plugged back in.

Then the phone rings, and someone who was working on their blog instead of paying attention answers it automatically and yells "AAAAGH!" when they get a fax in their ear.

Someone in the other room yells dammit in a really exasperated way because they see the little paper come out that says, "Fax failed."

This is the Globe, the most powerful teaching tool we have in our possession.

You can tell it is a little old though, because

Myanmar is still Burma, and

Norway is in parentheses.

This is where I live:

You can also tell the Globe is old because Detroit is still written in a big font and has no "stink lines" drawn on it.

I am embarrassed because my finger looks so fat.

This is our front yard, where we pick up trash, like I depicted in that one post I did about picking up trash.

Sometimes some good coupons can be found in those bushes.

That red van is not any one I know.

They are just driving past.

This is the view from our back door.

That big green dumpster smells like poop and mortality in the summertime.

It has a little green door in it, and sometimes homeless people walk by and take stuff out of the door, like bags of gray bread.

Sometimes they just look in, but don't take anything.

Sometimes they even do double-takes, which is my favorite. That's when they open the door, look in, shut it, but suddenly re-open it again and pull something out.

Its like their brain said, "Meh, garbage" and then, "No wait! Bread!", after a minute had passed.

One time a guy drove up in a nice red convertible, opened the little green door, took out a bag of apples, and happily drove away.

It was neat.

This is where the real work gets done.

There are a lot of "oh shit" handles in here.


I made Scott and Jason come into the bathroom with me, because I was scared by myself.

This was right before Jason got trapped in the staff Skittles dispenser.

That's me.

I am wearing the orange shirt I like to wear when I feel like people are not mistaking me for a man-sized pumpkin, or mumpkin, as frequently as I would prefer.

That bathroom mirror is the most flattering mirror I have ever come across in my 36 years of being vain.

Sometimes they have to send people to find me because I am in the bathroom pretending to be skinny.

My lips look really overlappy and tiny in this picture, and my hand looks enormous.

In reality, my lips are huge and my hand is tiny and uncomfortably overlapped, like my fingers keep wanting piggyback rides from their bigger brothers and sisters.

I also like this picture because it minimizes my hooters.

This is where Gweenbrick was born.

And this is the chair, where sits the ass, of the brain that boreth Gweenbrick.

Except, a student who had a lot of baby powder on her bottom sat here today, and I won't use this chair again until it has been thoroughly sanitized.

These are the beans from today's hot lunch.

I made an exceptional video of me jiggling these beans around.

I was going to set it to some Shabba Ranks music and loop it over and over again.

My favorite part on the video is when you hear a student ask me, "What are you doing?!?!" and I answer, very casually, "I'm just shaking the beans around."

Which might maybe make a good T-shirt slogan.

And finally, a picture of  two idiots:

Thanks for being my friend, small, small corner of the Internet.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rough Cut

Well, I could not do it.

I could not make this animation come together.

Since you might be ever so bored, I am posting what I had-a little unedited, and the part where they are dancing runs really long because I kind of mesmerized myself.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I have been photographing this chicken and her lover all week, trying to put together an animated film.

It is just not working.

I have a great song picked out, a stellar cast, all the parts are here; there is head of rat and and sweat of virgins in the cauldron, but no magic potion of hilarious stop motion has bubbled out beneath the three witchy sister's churning of the vile broth.

Nah, I never get that emotional about the kids graduating.

Every year, someone puts together a compilation video of all the graduates implementing their curriculum and personalizing their learning.

The scenes of academic progress are set to music such as "Fanfare for the Common Man" and the Olympics theme.

They show the video in a hot, smelly room filled with a couple hundred kids, families, well-wishers, well-meaners. 

There is lots of crying.

But not from me.

I am a rock
I am an island
....and a rock feels no pain......
....and an island ne-ver cries........

My favorite part of the video is how all two hundred people in the room say aloud the names of the faces on the screen.

It starts small, just a few people whispering "there's Marty!", almost in awe. 

Marty comes on screen, dusting a shelf in an obviously staged moment of compliance.

In the background of the scene, Tina floats by, talking on her toy cellphone.

"Tina!" more people call out from the audience. "There go Tina, talkin on her phone."

More and more of the graduation assembly gets into the game.

"Awww it's Bill! Bill!" 

"Der's Stacey! Der she go!"

It's like watching a movie with two hundred people and having them all describe aloud what is taking place on screen in weird, reverent tones, with an occasional outburst of genuine surprise.

Jeffrey is graduating.

He spent most of the ceremony looking like a stiff deer, but when it came time to walk up and get his diploma, you could have sworn he was Johnny Carson.

All winks and smug, knowing smiles.

Afterwards, I went up to him and said, "Jeffrey, you were like a king up there."

Jeffrey introduces me to his father, who looks like a stretched out version of the Little Professor calculator guy.

The man reaches out one long arm to shake my hand, but Jeffrey steps in between us to catch his dad up in an impromptu embrace.

"I wuv you Dad" he says.

It's all for the best, because we are standing in the men's room, and I dislike shaking hands in there.

The chance of encountering penis cooties is too high.

Lamocha is graduating.

Who is left now, 
to remind me of my age,
my creep towards obesity?

Who will point out how far I have to go until I am a man?

I wore shorts to work last week, for the first time in ten years, and Lamocha was the only person to give me a high-five over it.

"Allll right, you wearin' showts."

Putting on shorts now
After years have had their way
Old man legs surprise 

Someone explain to me how thighs so supple, so overripe with fat and sleeping muscle, can lead to calves with the circumference of baby fingers?

I look like one of those flip pictures where you try to match up the top, middle, and bottom to make a whole person.

Except I am the one that kids make when they want to impress their friends with the utter absurdity of their imaginations gone wild. 

"Look Plankus, hims fat on top and starvin on the bottom."

"You is crazy funny, Timbo, make anutter."

"Nah, lets go spit at cars."

"Yeah, dis flip book sucks anywho."

Stupid kids.

So it's not graduation that is stalling out the making of this motion picture.



Last week, I came home feeling great.

I even did shirtless marchy-tap dance numbers for the delight of my children.

Then I went to get the mail.

Towards the end of the driveway, I saw a brown, furry lump covered with flies.

It was Fred the cat.

He was still alive, barely, and his eyes had been completely exploded out of their sockets by the impact of a car.

 "Oh no," I said aloud.

There was something so fragile and awful about the way he moved his blinded head to zero in on the sound of my voice.

I wrote a post about his death, and filled it with all the philosophical yearning I could perspire into one blog, but then I deleted it.

It was a little much, even for me.

Though I liked one of the pictures I drew for it:

And I liked the ending:

I like how this chicken gives it to me straight.

I wait so long in between posting that my negative thinking blocks me from finishing anything at all.

What do you guys think of those bloggers that challenge themselves to post every day?

Is it just a pain, and does it make you as readers not feel like clicking over?

Let me know, because I am contemplating trying it, just to build my "I don't care what people think, I'm posting this picture of a chicken making out with a Spock doll" levels.

Do you think those are levels I should even be building?

What am I even talking about? I'm such a dork.

At times like this, I recall the words of Mandy Fish: "You keep forgetting that blog readers have no expectations of blog writers. That expectation is all in your head. We're just happy you post."

I think about that comment a lot. 

And I have been neglectful:

Heather/Violet from Creative Devolution gave me a blog award 
Please go read her blog. She draws funny stuff in much the same way I try to.

Thanks Heather/Violet!

And....Brian at Why Do I Bother?  gave me this
Brian writes musings and gets mad if you don't smile. Check him out and make him feel awkwardly loved.

Blog awards tend to come with many, many conditions, but I think this outtake from my stop motion failure sums it all up:

Thanks for reading!!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm beginning to see the light

Here we are:

And just like that, every light in the house came on.

I sat bolt up right.

Gone the gloom, the sense of inevitable despair.

Gone the fog that I have slept walk through these past few weeks.

Well I'll be damned.

I'm on drugs.


Where to start?!!?

How to end?!!?

I think I can hear my thoughts in my teeth, tee hee.